Power to the People

WSVN — If a storm strikes near your home, you could be without power for days, maybe even weeks. But you don’t have to feel powerless. Danielle Knox generates good ideas on how to get Power to the People.

A little bit of juice can go a long way after a storm. The sight after Superstorm Sandy of people gathered around a makeshift power station, charging cell phones serves as reminder.

Everett Townsend, The Home Depot: “We’re in a communication world, and let me tell you something, people like to keep in contact, they like to make sure their family and friends are safe.”

From your iPhone to your whole home, the key is knowing your power wants and needs if a hurricane knocks South Florida off the grid.

Everett Townsend: “These items are ideal because they’re convenient, and they’re easy to store, and they don’t cost a lot of money.”

Starting small, if your cellphone battery is running low, there are boosts on a budget.

Everett Townsend: “A two-hour extended charge, for your cell phone use, this one is under $9, and it’s great to have just for an emergency case.

Many items provide backup power for electronics, using three letters you’ve heard before: USB. Take this small battery storage device with you in a power pinch.

Everett Townsend: “You charge it up before, and it just stores that charge, so that when you need to charge your phone, just take that out, plug it in your phone, and you’re good to go.”

A power inverter can keep a laptop up and running. This one plugs into a car’s lighter socket and for even more juice, an 800 Watt inverter can power two items at once by drawing current directly from the car’s battery.

Everett Townsend: “This is kind of nice because you could be sitting there, maybe depending on the wattage again, have a little TV, maybe a little fan.”

For just under $100, this power station can be a huge help after a hurricane or in any emergency.

Everett Townsend: “This thing is multi-tool. It actually will jump your battery in your car if you go dead. It has a compressor in there to inflate tires, plus it is a battery station.”

Everett Townsend: “Now we have lights.”

Speaking of lights, instead of fumbling around for a flashlight during a storm, this LED light plugs right into the wall at home. When the power goes out, it goes on.

Everett Townsend: “It’s dark in the house, this thing is going to turn on by itself, and you’ll be able to find your way around in a darkened house.”

Danielle Knox: “Of course, you may want a little more than light in the aftermath of a hurricane. Generators can keep you connected to some — or all — of the comforts of home.”

Robert Biscardi, Reliable Power Systems: “Some people want, ‘Just give me a light, a refrigerator, and a room air-conditioner,’ and then you have people that say, ‘I want my electric toothbrush to run.'”

If you decide on a fully-automatic standby generator, experts can help you choose which one is best based on things like your home’s square footage, and the type of fuel it will use, like natural gas or propane. A popular size is a 20-kilowatt unit.

Robert Biscardi: “Anything from a 1,500; 2,000; 3,000 square foot home, up to two ACs, it’ll handle that size home no problem.”

Just remember, permits are required, so plan early if you want one installed.

And finally, solar power is a cool way to stay charged up. Plug your cellphone’s USB cable directly into this small, portable solar panel. The sun, doing all the work to keep you connected once the storm clouds pass.

Danielle Knox, 7News.





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